Arguably the most-travelled stuffed toy in the world makes its way to the coastal city, as it clocks miles experiencing the sights and sounds of the country.

Making a brief stop at Mangalore on Sunday after visiting Goa, ‘Charlie Bear’ — clad in a safari jacket, sunglasses, and wearing proud badges and mementos collected from across the world — was the centre of attention as it prepared to leave for Kozhikode a day later.

The globetrotting bear is a sort of baton, rather a bond, among riders of the world, coming together under the banner of World Wide Relay Riders (WWRR).

Riding for charity

In June 2013, the concept was formed between two riders, and after a Facebook page was created, Charlie Bear became a mini-celebrity. Having started his first journey across the U.S. in July last year, his fan page has since grown beyond the official website (www.worldwide-relayriders.org) Criss-crossing the roadways of New Zealand, Australia, and Southeast Asia, it has connected more than 1,500 riders, from luxurious two-wheelers to quirky three-wheelers.

In March, Charlie entered India from the Northeast (its 23 country), covering Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim. Before that, he took part in the 6th Annual Poker Run in Nepal.

The riders also carry forward the message of charity, and in its Mangalore leg, will raise awareness and donations for the Cardtz Samudaya, which shelters around 45 HIV-positive children in Pumpwell, said Sanjay Kamath, a rider.

The leg in the city was supported by clubs, including the Bullet clubs, Jawa and Yezdi clubs, RevLimiterz, Pulsar 200NS NakedWolves, Team Zero Gravity, Super Souls and Dark Viperz among others.

Ten bikers are expected to accompany the bear between Mangalore and Kozhikode, and eventually its sojourn in India will end in Hyderabad in another two weeks.

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